We were watching some program and an advertisement came on for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I then shared stories about eating it, how my nieces and nephews ate it, and how much I ate throughout my life. Last weekend my husband bought a box, and I cooked it. I ate the whole thing in one sitting. It was worth the gluten.
When I was fresh out of college and had no money, I ate a lot of macaroni and cheese. I called that time my macaroni and cheese years. It was the time when I ate anything that was cheap, had no real furniture other than two lawn chairs, and I did whatever it took to pay my own way. I was living on a very meager salary, in my first apartment, and desperately trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Each box of macaroni and cheese served to comfort and remind me that I could do it.
Many years later my nephews came for a visit. They were all very young and loved macaroni and cheese. Having progressed in my own life I was able to now eat the good stuff, the macaroni and cheese that did not come out of a box. I was proud to have ‘made it’ to this level. When I served these three little boys dinner they turned their noses up at the good stuff. They didn’t believe me that this version was better than that which came out of the magical blue box. All they liked or wanted was Kraft macaroni and cheese. They loved it, knew what it tased like, and it was their standard. Anything else was fake and needed to be avoided.
Today as I ate the blue box version of this lifetime friend, it reminded me of all of these stories. It reminded me that sometimes – food, places, sayings, experiences – are cherished by all. It also reminded me that not everyone is ready to move on when we are ready. They still need the safety and security of the things they ‘know’ to be pure and true. We have progressed but they may not be in the same place in their journey. They have to work and learn and live their own life lessons, and may never get to the same place as us. So we have to be patient and allow life to let them travel at their own pace. They may still be living through their own macaroni and cheese years, and we need to respect the lessons they have yet to learn.
I am blessed to be where I am today; a place where the magical blue box is a fond memory not a daily staple. I know that to others it is a true, and dear friend keeping them full and satisfied as they live through their own version of the macaroni and cheese years.